Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) has launched an API (application programming interface) that could help MSPs working in the unified communications and VoIP markets, according to Richard McLeod (pictured), senior director of business development. Cisco is positioning the API for CIOs and businesses that want to fight voice fraud. But a closer look suggests the Cisco API could help MSPs to optimize customers' voice networks and UC applications.

The Cisco UC Gateway Services API will allow MSPs and channel partners to speed VoIP application deployments with less capital investment, Cisco asserts. The reason: The API involves a software download onto the customer network or software running in the partner cloud, communicating with the existing customer network.

The API, Cisco indicates, could allow partners to develop differentiated applications, expand with vertical solutiosn and capitalize on contact centers without additional truck rolls to the customer site. The API works with Cisco Integrated Services Router Generate 2 (ISR G2) devices, which are popular in enterprise branch office settings or as a central router in a small business.

On the security front, the API allows MSPs to detect and mitigate malicious voice activity and security issues. The API also allows MSPs to help customers enforce IP phone usage policies in real-time, noted Cisco's McLeod. Early adopters of the Cisco API include SecureLogix (which focuses on unified communications security management) and BT, added Jason Rolleston, director of product management at Cisco.

SecureLogix is using the API for TDM and SIP trunking, assisting security-conscious customers that are transitioning to SIP while helping those customers to consolidate devices, SecureLogix indicated in a prepared statement. BT, meanwhile, sees the Cisco-SecureLogix work as a way to offer security across data and voice.

Cisco is not seeking to create a massive community of ISVs (independent software vendors) that leverage the API. Instead, Cisco expects MSPs, some software developers and corporate customers to dream up additional use cases for the API.